Chapter

Openness and Specificity: A Conversation with David Brown on Theology and Classical Music

Jeremy S. Begbie

in Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646821
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744853 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646821.003.0012
Openness and Specificity: A Conversation with David Brown on Theology and Classical Music

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This chapter argues that Brown's account of classical music is shaped by distinctive theological interests: a concern to do justice to the presence of God in all areas of culture; a desire for dialogue that refuses fixed theological pre-understandings; an eagerness to respect the integrity of the arts; a keenness to regard Scripture as itself part of tradition. Music is seen as potentially ‘sacramental’. Begbie argues that the principal weakness of this account is its lack of theological specificity. Brown's construal of the Scripture-tradition relation is insufficiently rooted in the particularity of the incarnation. His aversion to theological instrumentalism is overplayed and itself relies on theological pre-judgments. The same can be said of his view of dialogue. With attention to the music of J. S. Bach, the author argues that greater theological specificity can advance Brown's desire to affirm God's active presence in the world at large.

Keywords: David Brown; classical music; the arts; sacramental; scripture; tradition; theological instrumentalism; J.S. Bach; presence; dialogue; incarnation

Chapter.  5919 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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